In the midst of the angst and sorrow caused by the rapid spread of COVID-19, Southwest Florida entrepreneurs have pushed forward with an incredible outflow of creativity, resourcefulness and goodwill for the community.
Many small businesses have shifted their models and started to produce protective masks. At first, mostly as donations to help address the need for first-responders and at-risk individuals, but now also as a resource for shoppers looking to keep themselves safe.
Even as restrictions lift, the CDC recommends people still wear face masks when they’re out in public and other situations where social distancing is difficult (like if you go to a friend’s house for drinks, for example). This will likely be the norm for a while, so you might as well find a mask that you love. After all, the more we wear them, the more effective they are at combating the spread of the virus.
Leave the N95 respirators and surgical masks for the frontline workers and at-risk people who really need them (yes, they’re still in short supply), and instead opt for one of these adorable styles made right here in SWFL. You’ll not only look better but also feel better knowing you’re supporting a local business.
Turk & Turk: Known for its line of luxe silk scarves, Fort Myers’ Turk & Turk goes the extra mile to ensure its masks are safe, easy-to-wear and oh-so-stylish. While the exterior flaunts the brand’s signature bright patterns, the interior has a high-grade surgical wrap material and a bendable nose wire for added comfort. They come in mini-me sizes (perfect for mommy-and-daughter), and are all sold at-cost. $24 (10% of proceeds benefits the Southwest Florida Face Mask Crew); turkandturk.com
Photo courtesy Brian Tietz/Turk & Turk
Lacquaniti Bespoke: The Naples haberdasher started early in the crisis, mobilizing his crew of seasoned sewers to make masks, using the same high-quality fabrics used for their dapper suits. They donated more than 3,000 to at-risk people around the country, and have now rolled out a made-to-order line of masks, with the option to bring in your own fabric for super personalized gear. From $35 (depending on material); call to order, 239- 434-9686
Photo courtesy D. Lacquaniti Bespoke
Shape of Wicker: Based in Naples since 2016, the outdoor furniture company makes durable masks with super-soft lining using excess materials from its production to ensure a low-waste product. You can hop on a Facebook Live chat to pick out a style from their most recent batch; send your choices for colorways, monogram and logo options; or let the designers surprise you. $19.99 (10% of proceeds benefits the Collier Comes Together Fund); shapeofwicker.com
Photo courtesy Shape of Wicker
The Island Cow: While the restaurant is closed, the Sanibel Island crew is hard at work sewing cute, low-cost masks. A funky cow print mask—lined with high-grade surgical wrap material—will cost you less than $15 and go toward funding the making of free masks for first responders. $12.95; sanibelislandcow.com
Photo courtesy The Island Cow